Zimmerman Advertising likens its "Ice Cream World" spot for Friendly’s to Willy Wonka. But the trippy imagery, vague malevolence and sing-along Friendly-ness remind me more of early-’70s fast-food commercials. Like this spot from McDonald’s, with its world of talking burgers and French-fry patches. It would’ve been cool in a nudge-wink way if Friendly’s had cast Donovan, Grace Slick or some other has-been drug-culture icons to play parents—excuse me, grandparents—in the spot. No such luck. We do get bleachers of gummi bears, peanut-butter Frisbees and banana-split boats. Which isn’t so bad, considering what the view from an actual Friendly’s typically looks like. Usually someplace like Bridgeport, Conn., or Springfield, Mass. Sure, the rivers are chocolate-colored, but that’s where the similarity ends. Fudgie the whale’s back, too. Yeah, he swims the whipped-cream seas for Carvel, but a chocolate ice cream whale would fit in at the Friendly’s freakout.
—Posted by David Gianatasio